How I recovered Data from a faulty FreeAgent Drive

A friend of mine has a 250GB Seagate Freeagent Drive(External Hard Disk).He uses it mainly to backup data and to store movies and music.
One fine day,the FreeAgent Drive stopped working.So my friend contacted Seagate and informed them about the Hard Disk failure.Since the hard disk was still in the warranty period,Seagate promised to offer a replacement.However they said they could not help in data recovery.So before replacing the faulty hard disk,my friend had to recover all the data.So he came home with his faulty hard disk and requested me to backup the data on the hard disk.

He said that the drive lights up when connected to the computer, but the drive does not show up in Windows Explorer.The first thing that came into my mind was Testdisk.I assumed that the partition table had become corrupt,due to which the drive was not showing up in Windows Explorer.

I connected the faulty Hard Disk to my computer running Windows XP.Immediately the system became slow.Windows Explorer took ages to open.Once it opened,I could see the FreeAgent drive(a drive letter had been assigned).However I could not open the drive.I got the ‘Not responding’ message in the title bar and the system became sluggish.The computer started working normally only after I disconnected the faulty drive.

Now I connected it to my laptop running Linux Mint.The FreeAgent drive immediately showed up.I was able to browse the content of the faulty drive without any problems.Just to confirm I booted from Ubuntu 11.04 Live USB.Here too I was able to browse the contents of the faulty hard disk without any problems.
Without wasting any time I started copying all the data from the external disk.I got a few errors while copying.Other than those errors,I was able to copy all the data from the faulty hard disk.

The interesting thing here is that while in windows I could not even browse the contents of the faulty hard disk.However in Linux,not only i was able to browse the contents of the faulty hard disk,I was also able to copy all the data to a safe location.

I have no idea why the hard disk became faulty.Probably the hardware handling the USB Communication was not functioning properly.

Now comes the important question.Why was windows unable to read the faulty drive while Linux had no problems reading the data from the same faulty drive?
It looks like, Windows implements the USB Communication Protocol very strictly.Whereas in Linux the implementation is not so strict.

I am not sure if my answer is right,but this is what I observed.Please post your thoughts and opinions.



About the Author: Bharat Balegere

Bharat Balegere is a 27 year old blogger from Bengaluru. He is a technology enthusiast and loves tinkering with computers and usb drives.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Oh man thanks for sharing this, I’m in exactly the same situation with a Goflex that’s gone down… Bios see’s it, Device Manager see it but Explorer doesn’t…..

    Thanks thanks thanks!!!!!

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